A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. 1 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs ‘Cloudy’ bloats its visual feast with food puns Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up where the first film left off as inventor Chester V finds his food-producing machine is still operational and creating more problems like food-animal hybrids. Scott Bowles, USA TODAY 6:03 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Not as inventive as the original, ‘Cloudy 2’ may still have enough razzle dazzle to keep the kids entertained Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), left, and Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) return for more food-related fun in ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.’ (Photo: Sony Pictures Animation) Story Highlights USA TODAY review: ** 1/2 out of four Stars: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Schaal Rated PG; runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes; opens nationwide Friday SHARE 11 CONNECT 5 TWEET 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE How you view Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2depends largely on the role movies play in your life. If you rely on films to keep your kids entertained and distracted for an hour and a half, Meatballs (** out of four; rated PG; opens Friday nationwide) is a masterwork, a visual stunner that manages to break from animation’s current 3-D rut. If you prefer your kids’ movies to actually say something, the forecast is a little more gray. The inevitable follow-up to the 2009 hit faced a near-impossible task in trying to match the Technicolor palette and offbeat storytelling of the original, based on the 1978 children’s book by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett. Alas, the sequel, directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, continues to establish itself as an aesthetic wonder. But those pretty pictures are hardly worth a thousand words, and Meatballs 2 nearly grinds to a narrative halt. TRAILERS: Coming soon to theaters Seemingly picking up minutes after where the first film left off, our young, genius inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has just been hailed as the Edison of his animated times after creating the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator (FLDSMDFR for short), a machine that turns water into bananas the size of Buicks. In a hurried exposition that resembles the set-up of a SpongeBob SquarePantsepisode, we learn that the invention not only continues to churn out preposterous produce, but that the snacks have become sinister “foodimals” that threaten to destroy Flint’s tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic. Kind of a Jurassic Park of living, angry zucchini. The flimsy plot is enough to plunge Flint and his dad (James Caan), and pals Sam (Anna Faris), Earl (Terry Crews) and others back to Swallow Falls, where they will face “tacodiles” and “shrimpanzees.” Get it? If you don’t, don’t worry.

FDA: Criminal case shows food safety is paramount

The four pleaded not guilty. The listeria epidemic traced to Jensen Farms was the nation’s deadliest outbreak of foodborne illness in 25 years. The FDA concluded the melons likely were contaminated in Jensen Farms’ packing house. It said dirty water on a floor, and old, hard-to-clean equipment probably were to blame. The Jensens’ trial is scheduled to start Dec. 1. The brothers could face up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines each if convicted. Produce farmers don’t have a “true-kill” step to eliminate bacteria, the way dairies and other food producers do, Doyle said. Pasteurization and proper storage can assure the safety of milk, he said. “We cannot say that with bag salads because we don’t have that true-kill step that will kill harmful bacteria,” Doyle said. Higher safety standards are possible for produce, he said, but it will take time and money to develop them, and produce is a low-profit business. Improved safety practices are economically feasible, said Michael Hirakata, president of the Rocky Ford Growers Association.

No Food Stamps for the Unemployed? NYC’s Been There, Done That, and Its Not Pretty

Much like the administration’s stance on finger printing food stamp applicants, this position on work waivers makes New York City a national outlier. It also makes New York City a test case for what will happen nationally if House Republicans succeed in revoking these waivers for the states. I worked in a food pantry doing food stamp outreach from 2010 – 2012 as part of my dissertation research. I helped pantry clients with their food stamp applications and interviewed pantry directors around the city who were doing similar work. The rule on the books was that Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (so-called ABAWDS) could only receive benefits for three months in any three-year period unless they worked or were enrolled in a Work Experience program. When I first began this work, however, the rule was not widely enforced. Then, in the summer of 2011, something changed. People began coming to me with letters saying they had to report for a work assignment or they would lose their benefits. HRA had begun to systematically enforce these work restrictions, sending out letters to many of the 76,000 New Yorkers categorized as ABAWDs. Other food stamp outreach workers reported that the trickle of people coming in with ABAWD letters had become a flood. At the time, the unemployment rate in the city was still hovering around ten percent. Asking unemployed people to literally work for food adds insult to the injury of mass unemployment. Most of the people I assisted decided to forego benefits rather than be subject to what they saw as a demeaning work assignment.